Al Qaeda in Africa says beheads French hostage - agency

DAKAR Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:31pm GMT

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DAKAR (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's North African arm said it had beheaded a French hostage in retaliation for France's intervention in Mali, Mauritania's ANI news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a spokesman for the group.

In what ANI reported was a telephone call to the agency, which has close links to Islamist militants, the spokesman said Philippe Verdon had been beheaded on March 10 "in response to the French military intervention in the north of Mali", ANI reported.

Verdon was one of two French hostages kidnapped in the northern Mali town of Hombori in November 2011. The French foreign ministry declined to comment.

(Reporting by Laurent Prieur and John Irish; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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